5 Questions I Ask Myself When I Design PD

May 6, 2024

I’m deep into designing my new, in-person The Art of Transformational Coaching workshop, which I’ll deliver during fall 2024 in 9 cities around the U.S. This workshop is based on my forthcoming book, Arise: The Art of Transformational Coaching, and both the book and workshop reflect all that I’ve learned in the 20 years since I became a coach, and in the 11 years since I published The Art of Coaching (retiring in July 2024 with the release of Arise). 

I’ve also been delivering PD for 20 years, and I realize that I repeatedly ask myself five questions when I design. These are:

  1. How do I want participants to feel by the end of this learning experience? My answer, as I plan this workshop, is that I want I want learners to feel hopeful, energized, and stretched. I hope that folks believe that they learned SO MUCH. I want to radically expand their mental model of what is possible within a 2-day learning experience. I want them to feel transformed and, therefore, believe that transformation is possible. I want their minds to be blown by what’s possible.
  2. What needs to happen during these two days so that we reach this outcome? One thing that needs to happen is that participants need to see where they are when they arrive at the workshop, and where they are when they leave. I need to design activities that allow them to recognize the skills and mindsets that they arrive with, and how those expand during the workshop. There’s nothing more powerful than seeing your own growth in a short period of time.
  3. Which are the MOST IMPORTANT skills that learners need to practice? There are always so many things that feel important. And yet, prioritizing skills and sequencing them is essential in order to guide others in a learning experience. I recognize that what allows me to prioritize the skills to become a Transformational Coach is my deep knowledge of this content. I have trained thousands of coaches. I know what’s needed and I know how to sequence them. 
  4. Which activities can only be practiced in-person? There are skills that learners can develop on their own, and there are skills that must be practiced with others, which they need feedback on. Practicing with others also provides an opportunity to see the strategies modeled and to experience them. This is the great gift that being together in-person provides. Asking this question allows me to further refine my list of possible activities. 
  5. How can learners have meaningful “quick wins”? I know that learners need to feel like they’re making progress and that they’ll have new strategies to use tomorrow. I also know that I need to lay the foundations for the skills that’ll take longer to build. I strive to incorporate enough activities that provide quick wins so that learners stay motivated and energized, and to make those activities meaningful. 

Planning a workshop is a thrilling act of creation. I love the experience of imagining every moment of a workshop, and imagining what the room will feel like buzzing with learning and conversation and minds-being-blown open, and I cannot wait to be back together this fall. 

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about how to design and deliver transformational PD, check out our Artful Design and Facilitation workshop, which is based on The PD Book. You’ll have the opportunity to experience transformational PD, which I’d argue is a prerequisite to being able to deliver transformational PD. 

Finally, if you want to both join me this fall at an in-person workshop, and you want to participate in the virtual Artful Design and Facilitation workshop, consider a Bright Morning Membership. It’s really the best of all worlds, and a great deal!

More Blogs

View All Blogs

This Summer, Build Your Skills at Creating Connection

June 10, 2024

The top core human need is the need for connection. ‍So how do you create connection between adults? Which structures do you incorporate into coaching, facilitating, and leading teams so that meaningful connection happens? 

Read Article

How to Continue the Quest to Better Know Yourself

June 3, 2024

In the Onward framework, the topic for June is “Know Yourself.” While the second chapter is on understanding emotions, I think that you can’t know yourself without knowing your emotional landscape. 

Read Article

I’d Always Be in the “Needs to Improve” Column in this Area

May 20, 2024

Truth is, a part of me hates emotions. Hates that I experience them. Hates that I have to deal with them. I’m afraid of them. I find them uncomfortable. I’d rather write, present, or facilitate a meeting than feel my feelings. I also think I don’t do feelings well. If there were a rubric for feeling feelings, I’d always be in the “needs to improve” column. 

Read Article

My best design resource

April 29, 2024

I am deep in planning my new in-person workshop on Transformational Coaching. In Fall 2024, I’ll be taking this 2-day learning experience on the road. It’s been over 4 years since I’ve done these kinds of workshops, and I can’t wait to be in person with others who are committed to transforming schools. 

Read Article

Bright Morning Podcast

View Podcasts

Coaching Beliefs: A Simple Three-Step Tool

June 10, 2024

How to Coach Beliefs: The Drama Triangle

June 3, 2024

How to Coach Beliefs: Five Things You Need to Know

May 27, 2024

Coaching Conversation: Coaching Core Human Needs

May 20, 2024

How to Coach Towards Agency

May 13, 2024

How to Curb Your “Fix It” Tendency

May 6, 2024

Core Human Needs and Coaching Conversations

April 29, 2024

How to Coach Ways of Being

April 22, 2024

Building Strong Coach/Admin Relationships

March 18, 2024

Sneak Peek #1: Inside Elena’s Newest Book!

March 25, 2024

Sneak Peek #2: Inside Elena’s Newest Book!

April 1, 2024

Sneak Peek #3: Inside Elena’s Newest Book!

April 8, 2024

Sneak Peek #4: Inside Elena's Newest Book!

April 15, 2024

What to Do When You’re Not Feeling Compassionate or Curious

March 11, 2024

What You Need to Know about Classroom Walkthroughs

March 4, 2024

How to Set Up Meeting Process Observers

February 26, 2024

Coaches of Color, It’s Time to Honor Your Needs

February 19, 2024

How to Use the Ladder of Inference in Your Coaching Conversations

February 12, 2024

I Don’t Want to Co-Sign THOSE Feelings.

February 5, 2024

Try It On: Supercharge Your Learning

November 27, 2023

Try It On: Let Your Coachee Lead

November 20, 2023

Try It On: The Power of Silence

November 13, 2023

Try It On: A Question to Unlock Our Power

November 6, 2023

Try It On: A Question to Surface Underlying Beliefs

October 30, 2023

Try It On: A Confidence Building Sentence Stem

October 23, 1987

Try It On: Less Talking, More Impact

October 16, 2023

Try It On: Learn from Your Coachee’s Non-Verbals

October 9, 2023

Try It On: Improve Your Communication with Non-Verbals

October 2, 2023

What You Need to Know About Taking Notes During Your Coaching Conversations

September 25, 2023

How to Prepare for a Coaching Conversation in Five Minutes

September 18, 2023

How to Set Goals with Your Coachees

September 11, 2023

How to Introduce Yourself as a Coach

September 4, 2023

How to Introduce Coaching to New Clients

August 28, 2023

The Six Elements of Transformational Coaching

August 21, 2023

The Six Most Important Things to Know If You're a New Coach

August 14, 2023

Proactively Mitigating and Responding to Harm in Group Spaces

August 7, 2023

Facilitating PD: Post-Event Reflection

July 31, 2023

Designing PD: Reflection Before the Event

July 24, 2023

Designing & Facilitating Team Meetings - Part 2

July 17, 2023

Designing & Facilitating Team Meetings: Part 1

July 10, 2023

Navigating Contagious Negativity

July 3, 2023

Can I Coach Here?

June 26, 2023

When Someone Is “Too Far Gone” for Coaching

June 19, 2023

When “Equity” is Prohibited

June 12, 2023

Coaching Conversation: Finding Your Power

June 5, 2023

Coaching Conversation: ACE In Action

May 29, 2023

Three Resilience Boosters You Haven’t Heard Before

May 22, 2023

The Role of “Self-Care” for Educators

May 15, 2023

What do we mean by “every conversation is an equity conversation?”

April 10, 2023

Coaching When You’re the Boss

April 4, 2023

Responding When Emotionally Activated

March 27, 2023

How to Build Your Team’s EQ

March 20, 2023

How to Close Your Coaching Conversations

March 13, 2023

How to Determine Your Coaching Conversation Area of Focus

March 6, 2023

Transformational PD Part 3: Responding to Resistance

February 13, 2023

Transformational PD Part 2: Six Transformational Tips

February 6, 2023

Transformational PD Part 1: What It Is and Why You Need It

January 30, 2023

Coaching Resistance: Part 3 - Coaching Demonstration

January 23, 2023

Coaching Resistance: Part 2 - Preparing OURSELVES

January 16, 2023

Coaching Resistance Part 1: What is Resistance?

January 9, 2022

How to Set Yourself Up For a Great Year

January 2, 2023

In Conversation with Dr. Dena Simmons

November 28, 2022

Disrupting Racism at the Dinner Table…And Beyond

November 21, 2022

Disrupting Racism in Coaching Conversations

November 14, 2022

Why We Need Affinity Spaces

November 7, 2022

Microaggressions 101

October 31, 2022

Coaching Conversation: The Final Conversation

September 26, 2022

Coaching Conversation: Phase 4: Build New Practices

September 19, 2022

Coaching Conversation- What Happens when You Trust the Process

September 12, 2022

Coaching Conversation: Building Relationships and Trust in Phases 1 and 2 of Transformational Coaching

September 5, 2022

Transformational Coaching in Action - Phase 1: Surface Current Reality

August 29, 2022

Limited Series: Starting the School Year Strong - Setting Yourself Up to Coach

August 22, 2022

Limited Series: Starting the School Year Strong Considerations for a Thriving Coaching Program

August 15, 2022

Limited Series: Starting the School Year Strong The PD You Need

August 8, 2022

Starting Strong: The Power of Vision

August 1, 2022

Do What You Can: In Conversation with Sharon McMahon of @SharonSaysSo

June 27, 2022

What to Read This Summer with Dr. Kimberly Parker

June 20, 2022

Coaching Joy

June 13, 2022

Coaching Sadness

June 6, 2022

Coaching Emotions: Anger

May 30, 2022

10 Strategies to Shift a Mood

May 23, 2022

It’s All In the Details

May 16, 2022

When Things Don’t Go According to Plan

May 9, 2022

Powerful Facilitation Starts and Ends With You

May 2, 2022

The PD Book Sneak Peek

April 25, 2022

What to Say: Listener Questions- Asked & Answered

April 18, 2022

Designing Your Racial Equity Learning Journey

March 28, 2022

What to Say: It’s Complex - What to Say as a Person of Color

March 27, 2022

What to Say: Compassion, Curiosity and Boundaries

March 18, 2022

What to Say: Here’s What to Say

March 16, 2022

What to Say: Evaluating What’s Possible

March 14, 2022

What to Say: The Role of Power in Addressing Racism

March 11, 2022

What to Say: The Power of Purpose

March 9, 2022

What to Say: A Framework for Responding to Racism

March 7, 2022

What to Say: Reckoning with Our Past

February 28, 2022

What to Say: Recognizing Racism

February 21, 2022

What to Say: Three Steps to Navigate Your Emotions

February 14, 2022

What to Say: The Role of Your Identity in Responding to Racism

February 7, 2022

The End of Month Routine You Need

January 31, 2022

Three Steps to Better Decision Making

January 24, 2022